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Photo of 5 Asian American women in front of the NYC skyline
Photo of 5 Asian American women in front of the NYC skyline
The ones who were there through thick and thin

The work is personal. I often hear that the strongest leaders in organizing spaces are those who are personally impacted and invested in the work. I even wrote about how I turned to organizing with NAPAWF-NYC as it provided an outlet for my energy and anger but also a community to process hurt and grief. That personal tie also leaves us open to mistreatment and sometimes abuse.

During my last year as a leader for NAPAWF-NYC, I was not employed full time. To fill that time and mental space, I doubled down my commitment to the chapter, specifically working on…

“Your confidence seems out of focus.”

These were some of the first words someone who eventually became a mentor of mine over a decade ago said to me. After a year, I better understood what they meant. They, however, had already forgotten ever saying it.

But I’ve never felt more out of focus than now. As I mentioned in the last post, despite the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I escaped into some form of normalcy and spoke with people I respect. A thread throughout was my lack of focus or a clear sense of what I would do or…

Lisbon, Portugal

I’m not a person others would say suffers from a lack of confidence — in fact, I have been praised for my leadership skills since I was in school. But when I was let go from my last position, it took me four months to confidently re-enter the job hunt. This post is about the experiences that led to this, that other women, in particular, will recognize — and likely many others as well. …

A couple of weeks ago, I tackled a big personal hurdle of mine. I’ve led workshops, spoken on panels, been interviewed before. I’ve organized conferences, stage-managed shows, and produced events. Never have I ever been the main entertainment/speaker but off I went to the first Women in Tech: East Coast in Boston, Massachusetts. Because I think it’s important to talk about how to improve communication and relations between tech and non-tech teams.

Graphic: “Politicians are using racist stereotypes to push abortion care out of reach for AAPI women. We’re fighting back.”
Graphic: “Politicians are using racist stereotypes to push abortion care out of reach for AAPI women. We’re fighting back.”

Dear Friends,

So. Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA) bills. Are big ol’ lies. They’re bills being proposed in states across the United States that say people are getting abortions because they prefer having sons over having daughters. And these daughters must be protected. Specifically, recent Asian immigrants and their “backward” cultures are the excuses.

When they first started proposing PRENDA bills, there were actually quite a few women’s organizations that supported them. But these bills are another way to insert the government into the doctor-patient relationship, undermine a patient’s agency, and criminalize providers who listen to patients. They would require providers…

Graphic reading “Protect Families: Say No to Public Charge”
Graphic reading “Protect Families: Say No to Public Charge”

Dear Friends,

It’s me again. In the last email, I dropped the phrase “public charge” as if it should be super clear what it is. Except, it isn’t. I still, even over a year later of organizing around it have to translate it in my head.

The use of the word “charge” is with the definition of “responsibility for the care of” aka a babysitter’s charges. And it has a slightly negative connotation; they’re a burdensome responsibility. …

Red NAPAWF sign saying “Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Fierce.” lifted above crowd in front of the Supreme Court
Red NAPAWF sign saying “Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Fierce.” lifted above crowd in front of the Supreme Court

Dear Friends,

As some of you know, this past year I’ve started organizing with the local National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) chapter here in New York City. For those in the city, that either means I’ve missed hangouts for national conference calls, invited you to events, or posted about issues that impact the Asian/Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities here and nationally. For others, this is the first time I’m reaching out in a long time.

This past year has been wild. We’ve done work fighting against the “public charge” rule change, which would punish immigrants for accessing public…

In the past, I’ve written about being a low-key traveler. I wrote about my plan to take the Amtrak across the country solo. I ended up going:

  • through upstate New York to Chicago
  • Chicago along the northern US border to Portland
  • Portland to Sacramento along the California coast
  • continuing along the coast to Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles to Chicago through New Mexico
  • and then back home through upstate New York from Chicago
Photograph of evergreen trees covered in snow
Photograph of evergreen trees covered in snow
From the Southwest Chief, in New Mexico

And it remains, several years later, one of my favorite trips. I had a great mix of exploring and pushing my boundaries. On the train, particularly the three…

The rise of insights.

There’s a great, big assumption that with the growing ability to create and collect data, organizations will be able to know more about themselves and how to improve their operations and services.

From Microsoft’s internal inquiry of email usage to the analysis of employee facial recognition to discover indicators for high performance, the crunching of numbers to uncover trends or hidden solutions impacts a wide swath of industries and individuals. But along with this reliance on data-driven insights, there are also many stories of how those insights are later found to be unreliable or even biased.

Until recent data breaches

Arguing for justice is something I’ve been navigating for a long time and I have repeatedly gotten the label “too political” from the people I grew up with. My family no longer lives on Long Island and I am no longer in contact with most of my high school friends. But social media will remind me often of where I grew up through recommended or popular content.

Sam Wu

I've worked as a software engineer, data analyst, product manager, policy advisor, etc. Also an activist, with the NYC NAPAWF chapter.

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